Atletico's Aguirre confident of overturning Bolton lead

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The Atletico Madrid coach, Javier Aguirre, is confident his side can reach the last 16 of the Uefa Cup despite their 1-0 defeat at Bolton.

An apparent moment of madness saw Thursday night's last-32 first-leg game turn in Wanderers' favour when Sergio Aguero was sent off for spitting after reacting angrily to a Matt Taylor challenge. Bolton took advantage of their numerical superiority and scored the winner a minute later through El Hadji Diouf.

Aguirre is confident that his side will triumph in the return leg on Thursday.

"Bolton play with their style and we with ours," he said. "I think the match was difficult for both of us. In Madrid, and without this typical English atmosphere, I think we will have more options."

Aguirre admitted that Aguero's dismissal had cost his team on the night. "It seemed we had passed the worst," he continued. "Their pressure grew less and, with 11 against 11, we were on the attack more than them. In short, we were going for the game.

"The goal happened just after the dismissal of Aguero. Overall, it was a very unlucky game."

Atletico have indicated that they intend to appeal against Aguero's red card as they believe that he spat on the pitch, and not in the direction of a Bolton player.

"Aguero told me he spat on the pitch," Aguirre said. "The pictures show that the saliva went between the player and the linesman, but it was there."

On the home front, Len Boyd, the captain of Birmingham City when they last reached an FA Cup final, in 1956, has died at the age of 84.

Boyd, a wing-half, made 282 appearances for City and scored 14 goals, during a seven-year spell after he moved from Plymouth Argyle at the start of 1950s. He hadonly become a professional at Argyle at the age of 22, after being spotted playing naval football in Malta.

Boyd became Plymouth's first five-figure transfer when he moved to the Blues for what was then the sizeable fee of £17,000.

He captained the team to the Second Division championship in 1955 and the following season led the side to the FA Cup final against Manchester City, where they lost 3-1. It was his last game before he retired at the age of 33.

Blues players will wear black arm bands at the next home match, against Arsenal on February 23. The club will seek to stage a minute's applause in memory of Boyd.

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